2nd lead (revisions)

Donors warn Sri Lanka on peace process, economic reforms

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 02 June 2004, 11:06 GMT]
Following their meeting in Brussels Tuesday, the co-chairs of aid donors to Sri Lanka issued a statement warning the Colombo government that there should be "no drift and no delay in resuming and taking forward the peace process" and pointing out that "the peace process and the development process are mutually reinforcing and interlinked." The co-chairs called for "the establishment of effective delivery mechanisms for donor-financed development activities in the North and East."

They also warned Colombo of the need for "sound macro economic and development policies as well as other necessary reforms."

The full text of the statement released by the European Commission’s Directorate General for External Relations follows:

“In a world of competing crises, Sri Lanka donor Co-chairs came together today and urged in the strongest possible terms a rapid resumption of the peace negotiations so that Sri Lanka can benefit from the generosity of the international community. They noted that, with so many other demands on donors, donor attention and funding might go elsewhere unless the peace process makes progress.

“The Co-chairs of the Tokyo Conference on Reconstruction and Development of Sri Lanka (the United States, the European Union, Japan and Norway) met in Brussels to further discuss their support for the Peace Process following the April 2 elections in Sri Lanka. They welcomed the recent commitments made by the government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) to resume Peace Talks.

“The Co-chairs looked forward to collaborating with the new United People’s Freedom Alliance government and welcomed President Kumaratunga’s initiative to start the process for the resumption of the Peace Talks by calling on Norway to continue its role as facilitator. The Co-chairs commended the LTTE for reciprocating the request to Norway and expressing their commitment to resume the Peace Talks. They urged all political parties in Sri Lanka to support these talks. The Co-chairs also repeated their continued full support to Norway’s challenging task as facilitator.

“The Co-chairs were pleased to note that, by and large, the ceasefire has been upheld for more than two years with the assistance of the Nordic Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission. But the Co-chairs registered rising concern with the number of killings in the East recently. They condemned all such killings and called on both parties to do their utmost to continue to respect and implement the Ceasefire Agreement as the basis for the Peace Process. Co-chairs welcomed the recent co-operation between the Government and LTTE in the eastern Batticaloa district, with the assistance of the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission, to improve the overall security situation.

“The Co-chairs are encouraged by the LTTE’s release of child soldiers and the continued commitment to work with UNICEF. The Co-chairs expressed their deep concern about reports of re-recruitments and urged the LTTE to refrain from any further underage recruitment and to release all remaining underage soldiers. In collaboration with UNICEF, donors should consider providing funds for shelters for those released children who have no homes to return to.

“The Co-chairs emphasised the importance of preserving the gains made in the earlier rounds of Talks and called on the parties in the peace process to bear in mind the principles of the Tokyo Declaration. The Co-chairs noted again that a peace settlement can only be sustained if it respects the legitimate rights and involvement of all ethnic groups, preserves the territorial integrity of Sri Lanka and is based on the principles of democracy and human rights. The Co-chairs encouraged the parties to agree on the modalities to invite a Muslim delegation to the Peace Talks at an appropriate time for the deliberations on relevant substantive political issues. The Co-chairs also noted that success will depend on the willingness of the parties to show political courage and flexibility in discussions towards a peaceful solution.

“The Peace Process and the development process are mutually reinforcing and interlinked, as agreed in the Tokyo Conference last year. As such, the Co-chairs stressed that there should be no drift and no delay in resuming and taking forward the peace process. The Co-chairs called on donors to stand ready to accelerate implementation of their Tokyo pledges once properly prepared peace talks have resumed and noted that development assistance would inevitably increase as the negotiations made progress. The Co-chairs recognised that such assistance should be extended to the whole of the country, taking the poorest and the most conflict ridden areas into particular account. It will of course be necessary to continue providing humanitarian assistance wherever it is required.

“The Co-chairs also urged the Government of Sri Lanka to adopt and implement sound macro economic and development policies as well as other necessary reforms.

“In addition, and until effective administrative structures are in place in the North and East, the Co-chairs encouraged the parties to agree on the establishment of effective delivery mechanisms for donor-financed development activities in the North and East.”

 

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